(This political report was delivered by the National Convener of Black First Land First (BLF), Andile Mngxitama, to the Extended National Coordinating Committee Meeting of BLF on 29 October 2016 at Yeoville, Johannesburg)
I bring you revolutionary greetings. Leaders from the different provinces, leaders from the regional structures.
The last time the extended National Coordinating Committee (NCC) met was in July this year. We had then promised to meet on a quarterly basis, furthermore we agreed that the costs of traveling to these NCC meetings shall be split equally, where NCC members raise the one half of the cost. It’s pleasing to see that this principle is being applied. We hope by the next NCC meeting this commitment shall be fully implemented.
We meet in October, a month which is important in our revolutionary calendar. Its in October 1977 were about 19 Black Consciousness (BC) organizations and publications were banned by the apartheid regime. They were not satisfied with merely assassinating Biko physically, they went for his ideas too! Today we shall commemorate Black Wednesday with a panel discussion under the theme “Media and State Capture”.
The place of the media in the ideological battle for the maintenance of the status qou is pivotal. The media helps to capture the minds of the oppressed, to control their thinking and in this way to ensure that the capture of the nation’s land and wealth is complete. They capture the land through arms. They capture the mind through the media! We shall todaybreak down how the media is helping the project of state capture.
The 19 BC organisations and publications were banned to ensure that there is no counter narrative to the ideas of the ruling settler regime. Today they are doing it openly and don’t need to ban anyone because their ideas are hegemonic! In fact they are busy with an othering and delegitimization process. If you aren’t with them, you are not media or independent.
In October we also remember Thomas Sankara. At the same time we remember Che! They taught us it’s possible to die for an idea that shall live! Biko, Sankara, Che lives!
But it’s also in October when the biggest laboratory of the revolutionary process was revealed to us. To this end, the 1917 October Revolution in Russia remains one of the biggest schools of the revolutionary process. As we approach the centenary of the Russian Revolution we must prepare for an authentic commemoration. This NCC must establish a committee for the Centenary Commemoration of the Russian Revolution! This is so because Black First Land First (BLF) is in the final analysis the true heirs to Lenin in the Azanian space.
This NCC must give direction on the urgent tasks of our movement that needs to be carried out in developing the revolutionary process in Azania. The correct interpretation of the concrete situation from a Black Consciousness perspective is key in determining what needs to be done.
A correct reading of the international situation must lead to the conclusion that we are yet again living through a heightened imperialist onslaught. On the national front, we can see that the expression of imperialism takes the form of the consolidation of the hold of white settler monopoly capital – not just on the wealth of the nation but also increasingly finding ways to consolidate its hold on the state and politics directly.
When we last met in July this year, the metros were still under the nominal control of the ANC.Today the main metropolitan cities of the country are no longer under indirect control but are directly controlled by white settler capitalism. We have to ask, how did we arrive here? The answer is, it’s a result of the manipulation by imperialism following the London trips by the representatives of neo-colonialism and imperialism.
The power of the ANC as a ruling party has been exposed as a hoax. The real rulers of South Africa remain the powerful white families in particular the Ruperts and the Oppenheimers and the top 20 JSE listed companies. But their place and role has been made invisible by their ideological control over the nation. So we have to be alive to three important processes namely, how imperialism manifests itself todayon the international level; how this manifest in the national sphere; and the mechanism to normalize this. We shall come back to these points later.
On the role of BC today!
The urgent task of Black Consciousness todayis to make visible the invisible hand of white supremacy! White supremacy, manifested as settler monopoly capital, has been able to make itself invisible and in this way it is pervasive and naturalized. Those who are not in the battle don’t know that you can’t fight an invisible opponent. Our enemies have been able to give us false solutions by concretizing the enemy for us. Imperialism and its agents are clear who must be defeated – they name Zuma and the Guptas.
They make their enemies our enemies as well through their media and the regime change narrative. But they don’t talk in vague and abstract terms about the “system”.
Black Consciousness today must disrupt the veil that covers white power and make it concrete so that we fight a concrete enemy. This is important in answering the question who is the enemy. Our movement has contributed to the development of a counter narrative to the narrative of the enemy. To this end it has increasingly made visible and named the enemy. Our people are consequently speaking more about Johann Rupert and the Oppenheimer families.
BLF has also opened criminal cases against some of the top white settler monopoly representatives for state capture. We have to know who these people are and to make our people understand that these are the real enemies.
This invisible enemy led by Johann Rupert and the Oppenheimers are the national manifestation of imperialism and the anti BRICS forces. Sipho Pityana is the mouthpiece of the Oppenheimers. Johann Rupert is arrogant enough to speak for himself when the opposition political parties aren’t doing his dirty work.
Making visible the invisible hand of white power means also explaining why the Democratic Alliance (DA) is in power today and what this means. The denied coalition between DA and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is the concrete expression of the imperialist agenda in the political arena.
The spurious argument that giving power to whites is to punish the ANC must be exposed for its ideological bankruptcy. It makes no sense to go into coalition with the enemy so as to punish the bodyguard of the enemy! We have to bring it to our people that whites, even when they had massive conflicts amongst themselves such as in the Anglo Boer War, never at any stage contemplated giving blacks power so as to punish each other. Why? Because whites know who their enemies are – they have a white agenda.
The biggest price black people are going to pay for giving the DA power in the metros, is that white rule is going to be normalized. You will see towards the next election – the DA controlled metros shall build a little bit more RDP houses, create short term unsustainable jobs, light up a few squatter camps and say “vote for us, we shall do more”. The DA understands very well that such “service delivery” doesn’t touch white power and wealth. Black people are going to be invited to participate in their own oppression for a promise of an RDP house! All this because the EFF has assisted in making the DA normal in the eyes of the black population!
If you don’t know who your enemy is, then the enemy shall determine for you who you should fight! The ideological battle to help our people understand that the enemy remains the land thieves who are now controllers of the economy must be intensified at all levels.
Responding to Imperialism
To be sure, imperialism is the main form of global white power to perpetuate white supremacy and capitalist plunder by force. If you don’t obey, they bomb! That’s what they did with comrade Gadaffi, another hero of October!
Our movement through progressive organs such as Black Opinion has been providing clarity on how imperialism functions today. A lot of analysis has gone into explaining the Brazilian imperialist coup as precursor of the anti BRICS coup which is being planned for South Africa.
The modus operandi was tested in Brazil – now its being applied in South Africa. Only BLF has been able to provide a revolutionary anti-imperialist response to these challenges. Most of the so-called left are paralyzed in the face of the imperialist onslaught. We see them condemning imperialism in Brazil but being pro-imperialist in Azania. They hate President Zuma more than they hate imperialism. This is juvenile to say the least! They condemn the imperialist coup in Brazil but are pushing the #ZumaMustGo campaign here in South Africa. This is because they lack a coherent theoretical framework to respond to imperialism and to understand the levels of contradictions.
Two propositions help to clarify and develop a progressive perspective on imperialism in SA. Firstly, is the ANC anti-imperialist? The answer is no! Secondly, is the ANC of President Zuma under attack by imperialism? The answer is yes!
Our response is, in the main, determined by our concrete position on imperialism. This is important because imperialism is the main enemy and BC directs us to defend any black person who comes under attack from imperialism. We can’t be found to be on the side of imperialism by default. We learn from Mao Tse Tung on how to deal with imperialism whilst pursuing the national liberation struggle. We must remember that Mao went into a front with his national enemy so as to fight the Japanese imperialist onslaught.
After the anti-BRICS coup in Brazil there is little doubt that the same kind of coup is planned for South Africa and that Zuma is seen as the problem because of “his look east” policy. Zuma furthermore has angered and shocked white capital by appointing Des Van Rooyen into the Ministry of Finance without consulting white power. Then the announcement of the withdrawal of South Africa from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has decisively placed Zuma on the wanted list of imperialism.
White capital is further irritated and humiliated by the fact that the Guptas are making some inroads into the mining sector – whites believe they are entitled to sustain their monopoly. They are fighting the Guptas because they (Guptas) now supply about 5% of ESKOM’s coal needs. They are fighting for only 5% – that’s how evil whites are. The annual procurement budget for goods and services of the South African Airways (SAA) is R24 billion! Whites benefit 98% of this budget. After 22 years into democracy, blacks have only engaged in 2% of that budget! That’s what they seek to maintain!
BLF responded to the imperialist onslaught with the #HandOffZumaEconomicLiberationNow campaign. The response from our people has exceeded our expectations and the positive spin-offs for our movement and the revolutionary process are immense. Our critics have not cared to listen to our argument and ideological clarity. The masses are however listening! Our movement is getting traction on the ground. Our T-shirt is getting recognition and even prestige. BLF is contesting the imperialist narrative. We need to intensify our demands to Zuma – that is, our minimum demands to drive an anti-imperialist agenda. We have to push hard on land and free education!
We shall also review the #HandOffZumaEconomicLiberationNow campaign to get a more comprehensive view. We would love to hear your experiences working on the ground.
Response to White Settler Capital
BLF has since last year engaged in various actions to materialize the commitment to make visible the invisible hand of white capital. A separate summary report shall be distributed which tabulates these activities (see link). Here I wish to draw your attention only to the activities of the last two months. BLF has shown capacity to undertake actions at different levels. The comrades who took on the biased Thuli Madonsela with the 24/7 picket that continued over several days have made new history. In recent times there has never been an uninterrupted protest action of that nature. This has won BLF many admirers of the revolutionary process. The two marches organized within weeks to the Public Protector’s office have also indicated the capacity of our movement to engage in mass action on the ground. We have been able to silence those who call us a stockvel. We are apparently now a cooperative. The victory against Thuli Madonsela and the white land lord at the High Court was an important indicator of a bad week for the agents of Johann Rupert. By that Friday they suffered another loss when the so-called “state capture” report was not presented.
A revolutionary movement must move! From these revolutionary activities, many black businesses have been in contact with BLF asking for assistance – others committing to assist our movement as well. BLF has been vindicated that Advocate Thuli Madonsela was in the pocket of white capital. Johann Rupert wasted no time in giving her a job at the University of Stellenbosch (US). It must be remembered that Rupert is the Chancellor of US. This happens amidst revelations that Madonsela was taking money from the CIA front organization, USAID.
Our further and important battle against white capital is around Minister Pravin Gordhan. He is the front man of imperialism and white capital. BLF has now lodged papers with the High Court in Pretoria to have Gordhan declared compromised. He is indeed captured, conflicted and compromised. The application shall show, as per the affidavit BLF has submitted, that Gordhan is beholden to and doing the bidding for his shareholding companies.
White capital is not relaxing. A new wave of action to push the agenda of “Zuma Must Go” has been undertaken in the wake of the criminal charges against Gordhan. There is panic in the ranks of the pro Rupert forces. They are undertaking a political process akin to that in Brazil and Venezuela to try and work up the people against President Zuma so that Gordhan is spared and given even bigger space to maneuver. The march on 2 November is a march in defense of white capital. BLF must warn the people about this. If Pravin is innocent, let him go to court!
Hands Off Julius!
BLF has already come out against the charges being laid against Julius Malema based on false claims of land occupations. Those charges are false and vexatious. Malema never occupied any land and is not in the habit of doing so. He only speaks about it around election times – just to get some votes. Surely Mr Malema has the freedom of expression like all citizens. I suggest that BLF-NCC must write a letter to the National Prosecution Authority rebuking it for harassing an innocent man. The letter to the NPA must also confirm our position that we shall indeed testify on behalf of Malema. He is an innocent man!
Some immediate tasks
1. Engagement with the broader Fees Must Fall movement on imperialism. The student movement has to take a clear position on imperialism if it wishes not to be used by agents of imperialism in their factional battles against President Zuma. There is very little debate or discussion on the nature and character of imperialism amongst the student activists. The idea of a student anti-imperialist conference/summit must be pursued.
2. Review the National Programme of Action and ensure all provinces have developed their own POA which enhances the national programme.
3. Deal with the challenges of funding the movement and its activities.
4. A clear plan and coordination of the BLF-SM must be put in place. The National Interim Secretariat coordinated by the Secretary for Student Affairs consists of Palesa, Thobeka, Ncedisa, Miscka and Phura. All the provincial Secretaries for Students Affair must also be part of this Secretariat. A whatsup group must be set up asap.
5. A National Strategic Planning (NSP) Meeting, which will plan for the next 3 years, is proposed for December 2016/January 2017 in Durban over 3 to 5 days.
6. Every BLF national leader must come from an established branch! My proposal is that a branch be constituted by a minimum 100 members at ward level. The current position is that a branch is constituted by a minimum of 20 members at ward level.
7. A press conference will be called tomorrowor Monday.
The revolutionary process can only move forward if there is commitment and also if there is clarity of purpose!